Posts Tagged jobs

Talent Topic Compilation 2013 Edition

It’s that time again to bid farewell to another year. Before we race in to the new year, here’s a rear view look at 25 of the talent topics touched upon in 2013. Please feel free to provide feedback and share your favorites with those in your network who might benefit. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!

2013

2013

Wishing all good luck in the new year – praying mantis — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/may-2013-bring-mantis-like-mindfulness/

 Some of the worst job search advice EVER — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/follow-this-advice-to-knock-yourself-out-of-consideration-for-a-job/

Hidden reality of hidden jobs — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/are-the-jobs-hiding-from-you/

Job searching can be a crappy process, don’t make it worse — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/how-to-instantly-put-your-job-search-in-the-crapper/

Not all diversity looks like demographic diversity – http://www.ere.net/2013/01/22/talent-diversity-isnt-just-about-demographic-data/

Greatest job seeker gripes (about recruiters) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/follow-up-flubs-fiascoes-and-failures-that-frustrate-candidates

Learning how stuff works is YOUR job — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/does-this-thing-come-with-an-instruction-manual

Not all unlucky numbers are bad — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/pondering-significance-circumstance-3-13-13/

Can you train a monkey to do your job?

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/recap-of-this-week-s-rbc-lessons-don-t-monkey-around-with-lies

Maybe it’s April Fool’s Day everyday for job candidates — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/fooling-around-with-candidates-everyday

Who decided that 80% of jobs are not posted? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/who-is-hiding-all-of-the-jobs

What happens when clueless people become recruiters? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/sucky-slacker-sourcing-strategies

Companies say they want to hire for certain traits, yet end up selecting something else —  http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/hypocrisy-in-hiring

Overly restrictive job requirements — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/is-there-any-responsibility-to-educate-or-enlighten-your-hiring

Recruiters that are crazy, lazy, or both — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/these-recruiters-must-be-crazy-to-be-so-lazy

Job search version of 20 questions — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/20-questions-for-your-job-search/

Age old issue of old age (and discrimination) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/admit-it-the-big-o-stimulates-quite-a-reaction

Shedding light on the stigma of job hopping — http://wthomsonjr.com/guest-blog–kelly-blokdijk/maybe-you-should-withhold-that-job-hopper-judgment/

#1 reason for resume rejection — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/20-questions-for-your-job-search-2/

Opposite of good employer branding — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-cement-your-reputation-as-a-dorkola-recruiter

No need to settle for terrible HR — http://www.tlnt.com/2013/09/04/why-do-we-settle-for-low-information-human-resources/

Is it necessary information or an interview question? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/are-you-sure-you-need-the-answer-to-that-question

We all know what they say about assumptions — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/stop-showing-candidates-your-a-s-s-umptions

Everyone believes they know how to pick the best person for the job

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-best-person-for-the-job

Caring enough to cook up creative content — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/refried-beans-and-recruiting-blogs

 Talent Topic Compilation Edition 2013 Articles by Kelly Blokdijk http://linkedin.com/in/kellyblokdijkattalenttalks

Kelly Blokdijk on Twitter @TalentTalks

Publication sources include:

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/

Recruiting Blogs Dot Com http://recruitingblogs.com

TLNT Dot Com http://tlnt.com

Electronic Recruiting Exchange – ERE Dot Net http://www.ere.net

Bulls Eye Recruiting via http://wthomsonjr.com/

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Are the jobs hiding from you?

People often tell me they’ve heard they need to avoid job boards and focus on the hidden job market instead. That comes up in conversation because they have no idea what that advice means or how to interpret it for their specific situation.

Frankly, that may be the best or worst way for them to conduct a job search and they may not realize how to tell the difference. The fact of the matter is there is not and has never been a one-size-fits-all job search approach. Nor is it wise to exclude or include possible resources based on someone else’s opinion without them or the job seeker understanding what is entailed in the bigger picture.

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Statistics vary about source of hire. Some may suggest that up to 80% of employers use job boards to fill jobs. Others may reflect that up to 80% of positions are filled through relationship based methods such as referrals, references and recommendations. Based on those seemingly conflicting or at least confusing concepts, how is a job seeker in the current market supposed to spend their time?

Let me simplify this the best way I can… The main reason job boards have become under-appreciated isn’t because there is a flaw in the job board platform itself. The issue is with the users of the job boards.

Way back when job boards became common place, the “apply now” button enabled practically anyone, anywhere, at any time, to apply for any job. That in turn created too much volume for any employer to manage. Since then, a dramatic downturn in the economy flooded the market with even more users of the job boards.

Concurrently, to manage this volume of applications, employers started integrating their external job board postings with their internal applicant tracking systems. These were to filter the data and sort out the unqualified applicants. The problem that occurred then was applicants tried to game the system by keyword loading and other “tricks” so they would still show up in searches no matter what.

Overall the quality of applicants diminished. Meanwhile compounding the user-error predicament, the hiring side failed to upgrade their process to deter unqualified people from applying or add methods to attract the right type of applicant. Even if someone was qualified, the likelihood of them being identified under all of the clutter was minimal. The response to apply ratio was dismal.

The next thing you know, the only people applying for jobs are the unqualified people. That discouraged employers from using job boards and took things “under-ground”, if you will. No one on either side was satisfied with the return on investment.

While job boards remain a solid point of reference for taking the pulse of hiring trends, the kinks still haven’t been completely worked out. That said, I encourage anyone looking for a job to integrate any and all relevant job boards into their search strategy. In a competitive market, it would be foolish to discount one of the primary tools employers use to advertise opportunities and to identify talent.

Regardless of how, when or where a person becomes aware of a possible opportunity, it is critical to remain in contact with an extended network of business connections that understand your value in the employment market. In the event someone you know learns of a confidential search, you want them to keep you top of mind. You need to be known for what you have to offer in advance, that way when internal discussions start happening, people automatically think of you.

Alternatively, if a position is already publicly communicated, you need to do some research and investigating to reveal who is involved with the sourcing, screening and selection process. While having direct contact with the ultimate decision maker is ideal, don’t discount others who may be less prestigious, yet still influential in getting you closer to the front of the line.

Regardless, you need to be prepared to position yourself effectively through your professional marketing strategies and materials online, on paper and in person. No matter what form your tangible presence takes (value proposition, business bio, resume, professional profile or networking correspondence), it must convey deep understanding of the business needs through a concise and targeted message. Your communications must immediately demonstrate an obvious match for the desired role to anyone who “finds” you.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Talent Topic Compilation 2012 Edition

Perhaps like me you struggle to keep up with the mass quantities of information that flows your way each day. Here, I’ve compiled many of the job search, career management, employment market, recruiting and networking articles I’ve posted throughout the year.

The header before the link gives a general idea of the content and the blurb below the link shows an excerpt from the article itself. Please do share feedback by commenting directly on the source site or via private message back to me.

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Career strength takes continuous conditioning

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/armed-with-career-strengthening-strategies/

 Professionals must stay vigilant in conditioning themselves for the future. Just like our muscles get soft from lack of use, our knowledge, skills and abilities can quickly become obsolete if we don’t take action to step up our learning regimen.

 

The difference between bad and badass brands

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/how-to-build-a-bad-brand/

True experts, geniuses or brilliant innovators don’t go around telling everyone that’s what they are, because they don’t need to. It just shows.

 

Is your message making people tune in or get turned off?

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/does-your-song-make-people-turn-up-the-volume-or-change-the-station-2/

People constantly ask me how they can be found, how they can stand out and how they can drive action in the midst of immense competition. There are plenty of techniques that can improve the chances of those things happening, but none of that matters if when found you stand out for the wrong reasons making people think you need to change your tune.

 

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/awkward-placement-approach

As you will notice, this was a generic message sent to my email but not addressed to me by name – probably because I was only one of the thousand or so recipients.

 

Special K for your career

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/karing-enough-about-your-kareer-prospects-should-konvince-you-to

Wow, here’s another doozy … hopefully an extremely isolated incident, but apparently some poor schmuck actually lost out on a job opportunity because another candidate had a higher Klout score.  

 

Face-to-face with jobs on Facebook

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/what-about-all-of-the-job-finding-on-facebook

We’ve all seen the various social media articles, career blogs and Generation Y experts that repeatedly promote Facebook as a source of hire, venue for job searching and place to interface with employers. 

 

Everyone’s blogging and you should too

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/everyone-on-the-planet-should-have-a-blog

Ironically, I don’t recall ever encountering anyone that said, “What the world needs is more blogs.” Frankly, based on the underwhelming quality of many blogs, the opposite is more likely to be expressed.

 

Why you shouldn’t spam a prospective employer

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/special-delivery-who-ordered-the-spam

Now just sit back and wait for the job offers to flood in…

 

Career lessons from the Brady Bunch

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/job-searching-with-jan-brady-syndrome/

Embrace and enjoy what makes YOU, you! 

 

Oh no, not another boring resume!

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/5-5-million-boring-resumes-is-yours-one-of-them/

Aside from the obvious deal-breakers such as dreadful grammar, typos, spelling mistakes, improper word usage, incorrect verb tense, random capitalization and inconsistent fonts and formatting, there are plenty of other ways that people fail to make a positive first impression.

 

How to make it easier for your network to help with your job search

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/does-your-resume-overwhelm-your-networking-connections-with-tmi/

Much of the content typically included on a traditional resume used to apply for jobs, could potentially distract a professional or personal networking contact from truly understanding the core job search elements that a job seeker needs to share.

 

Crazy and lazy recruiters

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/turds-on-my-freshly-washed-windshield-and-similar-annoyances

One of my contacts shared this vent with me. Thought it pretty much sums up some of the lazy, sloppy, clueless types that somehow found their way into the recruiting realm.

 

Thoughts about thought-leaders

https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/purposely-pretentious-professionals/

As I’ve written many times before, I find it alarming that an abundance of outdated, ineffective and inaccurate information is being peddled to those in major need of real help with their employment or unemployment situations.

 

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Purposely Pretentious Professionals

As a “what you see is what you get” kind of gal that communicates in a plain and direct “tell it like it is” or “call it like I see it” style, the opinions I’m about to share may not appeal to those with different sensibilities. For that reason, the following serves as a disclaimer should you continue reading: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

In what resembles an OCD pattern, my brain seems to have a ravenous appetite compelling me to consume an inordinate amount of business related and current events content on a constant basis. Others play sports, video games or engage is assorted hobbies to chill out, but that stuff doesn’t appeal to me at all. Being a non-athletic, non-competitive type and a gigantic geek, reading for enjoyment and to stay informed about the world around me is how I tend to spend any free moments. I seek out sources of new data and diverse views on assorted topics pertaining to my profession as well as plenty of other entirely unrelated topics.

Periodically, I encounter articles by various individuals that some refer to as thought-leaders. I have no issues with these folks per se, but strong individualistic tendencies prevent me from gushing all over them like a hysterical teeny-bopper at their favorite pop star’s concert. It’s rare to discover something that isn’t derivative of an existing perspective or a just a more clever arrangement of vocabulary to describe a familiar theme.

Lately, much of the published material I read is not particularly noteworthy, interesting or informative. There has been a dramatic shift away from quality to quantity, frequency and immediacy. Certain people or publications seem to have become obsessed with remaining omnipresent as if activity and visibility somehow equates to relevance and validity. Nope, this would a case for less is more if there if ever was one…

Actually, that is what deters me from writing more often. Just because I’m continuously observing, absorbing and reflecting doesn’t mean my thoughts need to transfer from my noggin to my keyboard. To me, writing means sharing my unique point of view and independent opinions with the full expectation and acceptance that others may reject the drumbeat I march to. With that in mind, please ponder a few poignant words from Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I am not.”

The fact that most members of our society seem to have an insatiable craving for the ideas, ideology and intellect that others possess rather than thinking for themselves is rather disturbing. It is incredibly common for citizens to vote politicians into office based on talk show hosts’, actors’, athletes or musicians’ endorsements rather than learning what they need to know to make an informed decision on their own.

Another area I notice people blindly following their chosen expert’s advice in is the area of career guidance. For unknown reasons, people willingly display a complete lack of critical thinking ability or common sense when it comes to who or what they elect to pay attention to in this category. As I’ve written many times before, I find it alarming that an abundance of outdated, ineffective and inaccurate information is being peddled to those in major need of real help with their employment or unemployment situations.

If a dentist claimed to be a plastic surgeon and botched an operation, it would be called malpractice. In the career expert world there is no recourse for such blatant incompetence, and sadly the victims don’t realize the damage until it’s too late. There is no barrier to entry so anyone – bank teller, bikini waxer, chemical engineer, dog-walker – can wake up one day and decide to proclaim guru status on any career oriented subject matter they choose.

Essentially, all they need to do is fake it until they make it – meaning find enough naïve, gullible, lost and confused people to be their audience and voila! instant faux credibility. They proceed to impart their pretend wisdom on anyone willing to buy the shtick and spiel they spew. After all, according to their scripted, sleazy elevator pitch, they are, have or know THE solution.

One of the concepts I’ve seen floating around over the years is the phrase “networking with a purpose.” The first point about why this troubles me is that it seems to imply that simply living your life, meeting new people in everyday settings, social activities and any other interpersonal interactions is considered inadequate. Ironically, some people I know quite well with extremely rich personal and professional networks, never as much as utter the word networking and would scoff at the suggestion that they intentionally go somewhere or do something for the sake of networking with a purpose.

The next part of this networking methodology that I find objectionable is that it reeks of social climbing and all of the other distasteful status seeking behavior and self-serving motives that, aside from the reality TV crowd, others typically frown upon. I’ve attended events where people literally walk around scanning name tags on shoulders and lapels, presumably to identify those worthy of striking up a conversation with. They make no attempts to be subtle about it either. Apparently, they are so purposeful that they know it when they see it and don’t need to waste time chatting up the little people with the wrong name or occupation on their badge.

Based on several of pieces of advice I’ve seen and heard dispensed, the goal is to attend networking events with predetermined power targets in mind. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to only speak with important, influential and interesting people when out in public. Don’t be distracted by the insignificant people in your midst, as they clearly lack any ability to add value. To me, this practice represents an exaggerated interpretation of Zig Ziglar’s expression: “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce, If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

Even more pathetic is the obnoxious habit that many of these purpose-driven networkers display – that being the premature and presumptuous “how may I help you?” offer. Unless Scotty just beamed me up to the Nordstrom shoe department, I will be annoyed, insulted and offended by such a preposterous question from a complete stranger. Either you are delusional enough to think such a query doesn’t seem phony, or you believe you are a super hero on a quest to assist everyone you meet, or you think I appear needy and helpless – none of which engender a favorable impression.

Unless you have Meryl Streep’s acting chops, please realize that you aren’t fooling anyone with your silly, inauthentic or disingenuous lines. I have and will readily express that sentiment too – trust me. Eyes pop and jaws drop right then and there when the level of insincerity and absurdity of this elitist attitude is called out. I understand these poor souls are merely following the direction their favorite thought-leader passed along, but some random business card passer-outer trying to impersonate Mother Teresa with a pretentious “pay-it-forward” and “give-back” mentality is beyond awkward for me and makes the would-be helper look socially inept.

Wouldn’t you rather risk being forgotten for being the dude or dudette making natural small talk about the weather or latest blockbuster movie than remembered for resembling the word of the day on urban dictionary? If so, please heed Ice Cube’s recommendation to: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Job seekers should NEVER pay for resume writing or job search coaching

When I’m out and about at various local networking events, it’s not uncommon to encounter a large population of unemployed people. In fact, conversations with unemployed people often provide me with ideas related to career management, job search and employment market issues that I write about and include in presentations.

Recently, while chatting with a person that I had previously met and spoken with a number of times at similar events, an interesting topic came up. They were describing a fee-based LinkedIn class they had heard about being offered by someone they knew. I asked what they thought about the class and what paying participants should expect to get from it. They immediately said, “I would never pay for that type of class.”

Next, they proclaimed, “In fact, I would never pay for any professional job search advice, including resume writing or job search coaching.” Finally, they stated, “When I first went to ____ job search organization, they told us not to pay for anything, because they were going to give us all of the information we needed for free.”

Those comments didn’t really faze me at first, as it certainly wasn’t the first time I’d heard that sentiment. Even though that person knows my professional background, I didn’t take offense or find it personally insulting. Though I thought it was a bit awkward and unfortunate that they were so adamant about it. Rather than try to dispute their remarks, I simply suggested that people should do what they think is best, especially if what they are doing is working and producing results.

However, upon further reflection, I felt sorry for that person and any others who hold similar beliefs. They were basing their job search approach on what someone else, likely completely unaware of their situation, told them to do or not do. The main concern I have with this is that we are dealing with some particularly challenging circumstances. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don’t think this is a case for a one-size-fits-all set of rules delivered by virtual, uninformed strangers.

When people refuse to admit their shortcomings to consider trying something new, they likely will miss out on any potential for different outcomes. While I would never try to convince someone to pay for anything that they don’t find valuable or worthwhile, I think it is short-sighted to automatically dismiss the possible benefit of doing so.

Having written countless targeted resumes, bios and profiles and provided personalized job search coaching for plenty of individuals over the years, I have a hard time understanding why someone would take such a stand, without at least exploring those alternatives first. The majority of referrals I’ve received have been from colleagues, senior business leaders, HR executives and staffing industry professionals. The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive and complimentary. Without going into specific details, most comments are along the lines of “WOW! I never would have been able to do that on my own.” Or, “I can’t thank you enough for all of your help. I am so impressed that you came up with exactly the words, tips, tools and advice I needed.”

Following that initial incident, I had a separate conversation with another individual and mentioned the above. They also found it a bit shocking and blamed it on the rampant malpractice taking place in the job search realm. What they were referring to is the free, yet tainted Kool-aid being dispensed by various newly appointed gurus of all things career-related. It is known issue, but sadly those needing clarity the most, are least likely to pay attention to the warning signs.

Ironically, the person who said job seekers should never pay for resume writing or job search coaching has been unemployed for 2+ years and doesn’t seem to be concerned with the typos and incoherent content on their LinkedIn profile. These are exactly the things that drive a person like me crazy.

The jobless Kool-aid drinkers are all starting to fall into the same general categories: middle-aged, long-term unemployed, active networkers bragging about the quantity of their LinkedIn connections and readily passing out job search advice to anyone and everyone else under the guise of being helpful. Since everyone is doing it, it must be working right? Wrong!

Likewise, I frequently see people who seem oblivious to their interpersonal and communication styles and habits that may be potential turnoffs. There seems to be a sense of entitlement for help based on the fact that many of these folks falsely believe they are helping others due to their insistence on robotically asking everyone they meet: “How can I help you?”

And, don’t get me started on personal hygiene, wardrobe and grooming malfunctions that aren’t doing them any favors. Some of these problems can be quickly and easily fixed and for minimal, if any, expense – like buying tweezers, a lint-brush or an iron. Wrinkly clothes, pet hair, nose hair, ear hair, exposed chest hair and Andy Rooney eyebrows are not in demand in this competitive market. Ask anyone!

Who knows what may have happened had some of them been willing to make a few calls to investigate what type of help is available before so much time had passed and the damage to their professional reputation has been done… Most, if not all, providers of career services assistance offer free initial consultations. There is no reason not to take advantage of those being generous with their time and who actually have the specialized knowledge to help those who need it most.

Perhaps, the fact that there are so many fraudulent and unprofessional sources of information out there is a deterrent to getting legitimate, professional guidance. I personally know of several reputable resources that I would be glad to recommend. Please get in touch if you are interested in learning more about them.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Don’t succumb to the job search cluster funk

It constantly amazes me that there seems to be a growing and never-ending supply of experts touting their version of job search expertise all across the planet. Apparently, anyone who has ever had a job, applied for a job or even heard the word job is now well qualified to sport the label of career expert. A funky phenomenon that expands exponentially as the great recession drags on…

Clearly, it makes no difference whether any of these freshly, self-appointed experts bring any true, experience-based awareness about their subject matter of choice. Rather, the important thing is that they are – according to their misplaced intentions – paying it forward and giving back by offering to help anyone they encounter with their brand of enlightenment. Their method and message is inconsequential, as long as enough people can be convinced to focus any amount of attention on them and their brilliant ideas about how others should go about finding employment.

As I conduct ongoing research related to assorted topics in the employment arena, I can’t seem to escape the constant barrage of nonsense being portrayed as legitimate and credible information and advice. Evidently there is a huge appetite amongst job seekers for this peculiar blend of outdated, ineffective, misleading and absurd information. Much of it is recycled from decades past by out of touch individuals who haven’t bothered to stay current in how things have evolved over the years. Some people even seem to have a cult-like obsession over certain programs and providers of this content, regardless of inaccuracy or missing connection to modern, real-world scenarios.

My point is not to suggest that there isn’t valuable information to be found, or actual experts offering useful guidance. The issue is there seems to be far more faux experts than those who actually provide appropriate direction to those in need. From my observations and frequent interactions with job seekers, the average person doesn’t necessarily have the insight needed to decipher what fits their situation.

Just recently, I attended a career-related presentation that was so indescribable. First of all, the main reason I went was due to my perverse curiosity after seeing the completely incoherent promotional ad for the event. As atrocious as that was, it didn’t even come close to the actual delivery, tone and approach during the hour and half session. Despite cringing and squirming in my seat, I endured the painful fiasco in the name of market research.

Having previously attended similar presentations that were equally dreadful, it was practically impossible to feign interest. The only way that I can think of to define the experience was that in the midst of my agony I jotted down the term: CF. Yes, it was that bad! Thus, that incident instantly became the inspiration for the sanitized version of this article’s title.

The worst part of the above is knowing that people are unknowingly being harmed by their eagerness to find a fast and easy solution. Most of them want to take the quickest route to end their job search, yet they do the opposite by absorbing and drowning in buckets of sludge.

The analogy that comes to mind is a shriveled up sponge being dropped into a sink full of dirty dishes that have been left covered in crusty, gooey morsels of food scraps. As the globs of gunk make their way onto the sponge, it plumps back up almost looking normal. But alas, it’s just full of garbage.

In honor of Labor Day, I encourage job seekers to avoid treating their professional future like a disposable kitchen sponge. Take ownership of your progress. Be discerning in vetting advice or advisors and don’t succumb to the cluster funk.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Five hints to tell if you are considered A-level talent…

These days, there is a whole lot of buzz percolating about the job market spiking back up – SOON! If and when it does, will you be on the “call first” list or on the other list? If you are not sure, here are few things to consider…

1) During the “great recession” have you received periodic or frequent contacts from people who didn’t realize that you might be willing to consider new opportunities?

2) Do staffing professional(s) and search firm(s) strive to engage you (before the competition does) for potential opportunities even without complete details from hiring company or hiring decision makers?

3) Is the screening process adapted according to your situation to woo you rather than a series of hoops to show your jumping abilities? For example, are interviews scheduled to accommodate your preferences and availability?

4) Have you been getting job leads from multiple unexpected and unsolicited sources? Or, are you relying on your daily or weekly job board alerts?

5) Are you hearing from people who heard about you from someone else? For instance, are mutual contacts on LinkedIn reaching out to get to know you and establish a connection?

If any of the above has not happened in the distant or recent past, you may want to evaluate they way you are presenting yourself in person, online and on paper. Remember: “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”

Top talent is always in demand regardless of state of the job market. Make sure you understand what that means to those who decide who they plan to call when the time comes.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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